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Are Toxic Habits Holding You Back?

Consider these changes to set you on a winning path.

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A new calendar year always offers an opportunity for a fresh start and provides an additional pinch of motivation to banish some habits that have stopped serving you well (did they ever?).

Here are 12 things to leave behind if you want to foster a stronger, happier, more successful you in 2017.

1Procrastinating on your goals

Have you been thinking about travelling/switching jobs/getting healthier/starting business ventures?

Big dreams aside, have you put any actions in place to realise them? Putting things in motion is the only way to get somewhere. Otherwise, ask yourself if you do really want this thing that you’ve been talking about all this time.

2Stop fixating on the past

We all have our ‘what if’ moments, decisions we question or regrets we harbour. The secret is this though — it already happened and you can’t change it. But you can actively change the future, so rather than focusing on the past, invest in shaping the future you want to live out.

Related: 4 Bad Money Habits That Have Left Millionaires Broke

3Thinking micro

The world is becoming ever so connected and intertwined. Your actions and words impact the planet and the lives of others.

Empower those around you, give back to the community you feel inspired by and read about what’s happening in other parts of the world.

4Doing everything yourself

resilience-and-independent

Being resilient, independent and driven are admirable traits, but you don’t have to do everything yourself.

People who ask others for help not only achieve things more efficiently and curb the likelihood of burning out, they also build strong networks of likeminded individuals that push them to grow and experience new things.

5Stop enabling toxic relationships

People can be likened to drains or faucets. Which are you involved with? Make the leap and cut out those who take up your time and energy without contributing to your success, growth and happiness.

Related: 20 Habits Holding Me Back From Being A Millionaire

6Working through lunches

Your body needs proper nourishment to keep you energised and in positive spirits throughout the day. So does your mind.

Taking even a 30-minute time-out during lunch to have a proper meal and give your brain a break from all of the work-related thoughts will keep you more productive and focused.

7Maintaining a casual clutter

Organising doesn’t come naturally to all of us, however if your work desk looks like it was hit by a paper avalanche and sticky notes coat all surrounding surfaces, it’s time to get minimalist.

For one, putting a system in place for filing your projects/important communication and maintaining a comprehensive agenda will increase your sense of composure and assertiveness. Also, you’ll be surprised by how much more manageable your daily workload will feel.

8Treating your online presence like a one-time investment

online-presence

Sure, you set up your LinkedIn page or finally started a blog — but how often do you update them? Your brand (and reputation) doesn’t grow overnight.

Being consistent with your online properties allows you to add building blocks to your evolving career and increase exposure through algorithms built into the digital platforms tracking activity.

9Taking your free time for granted

After gruelling work-weeks it’s tempting to spend time off binging on movies or your favourite show, but time is finite, and it’s in your hands to make the most of it so weeks don’t blur as you’re going through the usual routine.

There’s no shame in killing two birds with one stone — pair long-discussed coffee plans that never manifest into reality with movies/concerts/art exhibitions that will serve as food for the soul and spirit, host a dinner party for friends, rather than booking individual outings or go on a weekend road trip to get out of the predictable social routines.

Related: The Busy Man’s Guide To Better Habits

10Overlooking sleep

While you’re staying up late answering emails and tying loose ends to be more productive, you’re actually doing the opposite.

Apart from the myriad of health issues that continuous under sleeping has been linked to, it is also a significant contributor to deteriorating performance and cognitive functions. An odd late night aside, make sure you gift yourself proper sleep to be on top of your game.

11Thinking in negative terms

Phrases like “I can’t do…,” “I’m not good at …” and “I don’t know how to…” wire our brains to focus on our shortcomings and question our abilities and self-worth.

Instead, adopt a language that is empowering and solution-oriented, that highlights your willingness to learn and utilise your strengths to develop your skills.

12Waiting for big wins

Having ambitious goals is admirable, however the timeline associated with their realisation is generally lengthy, and involves a sequence of steps and goals. Don’t wait for that final puzzle piece to be put in place to feel like you’ve accomplished something.

Recognise that you are investing time and effort every day to bring yourself closer to your goal, and celebrate smaller achievements along the way. After all, it’s not as much about the destination, as it is about the journey!

Jennifer Cohen is the CEO and founder of US-based No Gym Required, a company that helps individuals and organisations create simple strategies to increase their productivity and success through health and wellness. She is also the author of best-selling books No Gym Required and Strong is the New Skinny.

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Self Development

3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

Erik Kruger

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3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Goal setting as a concept makes perfect sense. At the most basic level you decide on the destination and then plot the way to get there. But as with many things, we like to overcomplicate that which should be simple.

Before you know it, you end up with 2 big goals in 15 different areas of your life and 100 micro goals that will help you reach your 30 big goals.

Complicating something simple. Some of the biggest obstacles to people in reaching their goals are:

  • The overestimate the effort it will take to achieve those goals
  • They want to go from 0-100km/h in the blink of an eye
  • Life is dynamic and static goals often do not make sense
  • They get so entrenched in the day to day running of things that goals get pushed aside.

What if instead of goals, we just focused on giving our best every day?

Of course, you still want to have an indication of where you are going.

But, if you are giving your 100% every day then you can forego the micro goals for a better way of calibrating your compass… using questions.

Related: Goal Setting Guide

I suggest you ask yourself these three questions regularly:

1. What does better look like?

The question at the heart of development and incremental improvement. This question allows you some creative space in which you can imagine a better future.

  • What does better health look like?
  • What does a better business look like?
  • What does better customer service look like?
  • What does better leadership look like?

By reflecting on this question, you materialise the gap between where you are and where you could be. Now, the only thing that is left is to align your daily actions with the better future you imagined.

2. What can I control?

Borrowed from Stoicism this question highlights the power of decision in your life. Epictetus said we should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”

Once you ask this of yourself regularly you will feel more in control of your life and more in control of your business.

Why?

Because your focus is solely on the things that you can influence. It restores the belief that you can actually impact the world around you in a meaningful way.

3. Was I impeccable with my actions today?

One inherent flaw with goal setting is that the goal setter often feels judged. As if we need more of that. In addition to the constant negative self-talk we have to endure we now have an additional source of judgement – whether we reached our goals or not.

As we discovered in question #2 We cannot control everything. Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

So, instead of judging yourself, commit to giving your best every single day.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game so You Win


Accountability

What I love most about these questions is that they provide a built-in layer of accountability. Use them every day.

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Self Development

To Be Successful Stay Far Away From These 7 Types of Toxic People

You need a network of talented people, not toxic personalities who undermine you.

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Surrounding yourself with prospective mentors is an excellent way to build lifelong success. When Steve Jobs founded Apple, he learned from colleagues like Steve Wozniak about what it took to build computer hardware. And he learned from early investors like Mike Markkula about what it took to build a successful company and market a product. Now imagine if Jobs had surrounded himself with toxic personalities instead. It is likely that he would not have been able to create a company that is on course to be valued at $1 trillion.

If you interact with people who demonstrate questionable behaviour, you’re more likely to model that behaviour yourself or to become stressed as a result. At the very least, you will be missing out on the opportunity to network with more successful and inspiring individuals.

This article will review seven personality types that should be eliminated from your life in order to build your most successful self. Once these people are gone, you can work on building a network of people who influence you positively.

1. Micromanagers

According to a report by NPR, micromanagement is one of the biggest factors associated with employee dissatisfaction, lowered motivation and lack of professional creativity. To be successful, you must learn to solve problems independently. Micromanaging can make it difficult to develop these skills.

Related: Keep An Eye Out For Toxic Employees

2. Short-term thinkers

If you surround yourself with short-term thinkers, it will be difficult to know if an idea is destined for long-term success. Those who are narrow-minded may be more likely to dismiss one of your ideas because it will take time to develop into a meaningful success.

Take the creation of Airbnb as an example. The company was founded in 2008. At the time the “sharing economy” did not exist, and hotel chains like Starwood and Hilton dominated the lodging market. A short-term thinker would have criticised an idea like Airbnb.

In order for the company to be successful, Airbnb would need to change people’s attitudes and expectations about travel. They would need to encourage people to be comfortable staying with strangers, and they would need to find ways to mitigate possible liability should something tragic happen during a customer’s stay.

Well-respected venture capitalists decided to pass on Airbnb because of these short-term concerns. The Airbnb founders were only able to find success once they connected with people who were comfortable thinking long term.

3. Pessimists

pessimistsPessimism is not always a bad trait; at times it can help entrepreneurs to recognize certain pitfalls that might otherwise be overlooked. However, a steady diet of pessimism is toxic when it comes to taking big professional risks.

As David Armor, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale University, says, “An entrepreneur starting up a company, for example, might drive himself to work 18-hour days for months and even years because he optimistically believes that there will be a big payoff for him at the end.” Conversely, a pessimistic attitude would make it difficult to tolerate such a prolonged stressful situation.

For those interested in taking on stressful professional situations, pessimistic people should be avoided in most cases.

Related: Tips on how to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic Workplace

4. Selfish people

Relationships that contribute to success are mutually beneficial. This dynamic cannot exist when dealing with selfish people. As a result, it is best to eliminate selfish people from your life in order to make room for more giving relationships.

A recent study found that a job applicant who is referred by an existing employee is 15 times more likely to be hired than someone who applies via a job board. If you befriend a selfish person, you probably can’t rely on them to introduce you to new career opportunities. However, forming connections with someone who is altruistic could give you a professional leg up.

5. Risk-averse personalities

Business success is about making informed decisions by weighing risks and rewards. If you are surrounded by people who over-index on possible risks while ignoring the possible rewards, it will be challenging to identify good business opportunities.

Take Amazon as an example. In 2014 Amazon launched a smartphone called the Fire Phone. In the end, the phone was not successful. Following the unsuccessful launch of the Fire Phone, risk-averse people might have avoided developing another piece of computer hardware.

But instead, Amazon correctly assessed the opportunity for an in-home smart speaker, and launched the Amazon Echo just one year later. Today, Echo has 75 percent of the smart-speaker market in the United States.

6. Unmotivated individuals

People who lack motivation or work ethic set a bad example for those interested in working diligently to become a professional success. There is no worse colleague than someone who simply does the bare minimum to get by.

Rather than associate yourself with people who cut corners or avoid hard work, try to surround yourself with people who are motivated to succeed. Collaborating with people who have a healthy drive for success can instill an extra dose of motivation in you.

Related: 3 Strategies for Dealing With Toxic People

7. Spendthrifts

Financial responsibility is a critically important quality to develop if you want to become successful. Warren Buffet is perhaps the supreme example of a financially responsible and successful person.

Buffet is the third wealthiest person in the world, worth nearly $80 billion. But despite his professional success, Buffet does not spend his money on flashy cars or large homes. In fact, Buffet still lives in the modest home in Omaha, Nebraska, that he purchased in 1958.

Those who associate with spendthrifts may be more motivated to make irresponsible financial decisions in order to fit in. At the very least, it will be harder to associate with people who make good financial choices, as these personalities are frequently diametrically opposed.

Conclusion

Business is all about who you know. From landing a new job to launching a new company, your network will enable or prevent future professional success. When developing a network of talented people, it is best to avoid toxic personalities who could set a bad example or demotivate you.

Be sure to avoid people who are micromanagers and short-term thinkers, as they can make it difficult to think autonomously. Risk-averse individuals or pessimists may cause you to think twice about great business ideas, and spendthrifts or selfish people may hamper your ability to grow. Last but not least, stay away from unmotivated individuals, as your success is dependent on your willingness to work diligently in order to succeed.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Self Development

Are You Seeing What You Want And Not What Is Actually There? Take This Simple Test

Do you see what’s really there, or what you expect to see?

Nadine Todd

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Without looking at your watch, think about what it looks like. Are the numbers Roman Numerals? If the answer is yes, picture the number four. Now write down the symbol that your second hand will be pointing at, at 4am or 4pm each day.

Was it this: IV?

If you made that assumption, you’re forgiven. Known as the Roman Numeral Clock study, this simple experiment has become a hallmark showcasing how often we assume we know what something looks like, or what someone did or said. We often don’t see what’s in front of us, because we don’t look. We expect something to be what we think it is.

Related: Why You Should Be Unreasonable With Your Expectations

On all Roman Numeral watches, the number four looks like this: IIII

This is based on ancient sundials. Popular theory says it’s because IV was the symbol of Jupiter, and it was considered bad luck or sacrilegious to be on a sundial.

Whatever the reason, tradition has maintained it.

And we have a nifty experiment to prove we don’t always pay attention to our surroundings.

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